Communicating clearly in the COVID age of uncertainty

After a testing year unlike any experienced before, communicating with target audiences will remain vital in the 12 months ahead as we continue to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Chris Leggett, Perform HQ Associate.

The two UK lockdowns and the fight to tackle the spread of COVID, along with the ensuing economic downturn, has led to disruption to all aspects of life, challenging traditional ways of organisations communicating internally with stakeholders and externally with target audiences.

It is well documented how more people have gone online for more aspects of their working and domestic lives than ever before.

With social distancing and restricted movement, a new generation of users have taken a crash course in Zoom and video calls, while traditional bricks and mortar businesses have had to rapidly develop online platforms or risk losing customers for good.

Organisations which had “played” at “being digital” have had to improve their online services, creating more demand for trusted digital partners.

And yet, inevitably, marketing and communications spend has been halted or rapidly reduced as organisations battle with managing costs and fighting fires to stay in operation.

The temptation has been to go quiet and concentrate on “business as usual” while stablising for what was hoped would be a rapid return to normality.

The arrival of vaccines brings welcome hope but we will all have to adapt to life with COVID around us.

The incorporation of COVID into marketing and communications has drawn some criticism but if we ignore the new facts of life there is the risk of seeming irrelevant.

Without adding to the glut of predictions, the following seems sensible as we edge forward into 2021:

  1. Maintaining positive communications remains vital
    If you go quiet about your organisation’s strengths your positive messages will be lost at a time when audiences need to know what you offer. Waiting until “things get back to normal” is not an option.
  2. Keep it simple and consistent
    Use your in-house resource or look for a trusted partner to help you communicate regularly and in a way which meets the audiences needs on each platform. Chasing TikTok users for the sake of it, for example, can backfire but so can expecting everyone to only get your information from one channel.
  3. Creativity is still vital
    People have not lost all their senses because they are stuck at home. Life is repetitive enough for many that they need some poetry and creativity to make them see things differently. Ads and messages about life in lockdown were fine for a while, but audiences will be crave some magic after a winter of confinement.
  4. Life goes on outside of COVID
    Not everything has to mention this infection which brought the world to a halt. Give people other things to think about to think beyond the here and now, to give them some hope for 2021 and onwards.

As the song played this time of year has it: “Look to the future now / It’s only just begun.”

PerformHQ, has a super-bench of experienced practitioners, get in touch for a free initial consultation to see if PerformHQ can be the catalyst to turbocharge your business change.

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